Saturday, December 31, 2011



What are you eating for New Year's Eve? We just made a simple curry fried rice. It's got 5Cs - carrot, cabbage, corn, curry and coriander leaves! Oh, and some crispy "chao-ta" bits (the best part)! Photo from my Instagram.

It's the final hour of 2011. Some will be partying, some will be cosying up at home. Quite a few perhaps contemplating what's past, and what they want in the new year.

As I look back in the blog, I see some of my favourite experiences this year. Here they are, roughly in reverse chronological order...
Armani/Prive in Hong Kong: fabulously surreal rooftop bar
Kuriya Penthouse: my first fugu
il Lido: best pasta of 2011
Jane Thai at Orchard Towers: superspicy, simple but good Thai
db Bistro Moderne: lunch with and by Daniel Boulud himself.
Chengdu Restaurant: authentic Sichuan that will put fire in your belly
My baking fervour, especially artisanal breads! Pity it ruined my oven...
Meeting Chef Mak of Tim Ho Wan fame: he is so down-to-earth!
Meeting Joel Robuchon again, this time with both his restaurants launched!
Meeting, OK, Glimpsing Donnie Yen at Wuxia Movie Gala Premiere. Right, it's not food, but some would say still delicious...
The Battlestar Galactica Ride at Universal Studios: you might spill from the thrill
The French Window in Hong Kong: sublime modern French with utterly romantic ambiance
and kicking off the year with my all-time most visited post - The List of Japanese buffets! This page alone got almost 70,000 views!

This is also the year I finally created the Camemberu Facebook page. Thanks to all who "liked" it.

As a family, we explored the rustic resort at Telunas, and also the Banyu Biru Villas on Bintan.

So there have been some memorable highlights, but 2011 was also the year in which some devastating events happened, like the 3.11 Japan earthquake and tsunami. It was absolutely crushing, and we scrambled to help even as we felt so small and distant. We also lost Chef Santi Santamaria.

I don't know what next year will bring. But right now, I am just treasuring whatever moment I am in.

Let me leave you with something cheerfully lucky from traditional Japanese pantheon. The Seven Lucky Deities (Shichifukujin) travel on their treasure ship (Takarabune) on New Year's night, bringing gifts and good luck. It's like they have seven Santa Clauses. I just saw this on Muza-Chan and thought it was really cute. I so want to go back to Japan...I miss it so much.

あけましておめでとう!Happy New Year!

image from Muza-Chan.net


Friday, December 30, 2011

The biggest yusheng platter I've seen!
Isn't this the biggest yu sheng serving platter you've seen? It is for me! Talk about living large. This is the Prosperity Salmon Yu Sheng at Mandarin Court.

Awesome platter aside, I was intrigued that Pine Court at the Mandarin Orchard had changed its name to Mandarin Court. But the chef is the same, and so is the menu by and large. Even the serving staff are the same (many of whom have been there a long time too). The name change is to better reflect the Mandarin branding, say the PR folks.

Lots of crispy goodies go into this

Executive Chinese Chef Sunny Kong has crafted 10 different signature menus ranging from a
$98++ per person menu (minimum 2 persons) to a luxurious $1,888++ meal for 10 persons. These will be available from 13 January to 6 February 2012.

These are some of the highlights from those menus.

Baby Abalone Fortune Pot
Ah, what's Chinese New Year without pen cai? The Baby Abalone Fortune Pot is a huge bowl of many goodies. The only thing I miss here is some roast pork.


Typhoon Shelter Roast Chicken with Minced Black Bean, Garlic and Almond Flakes
This is the "Bi Feng Tang" or "Typhoon Shelter" Roast Chicken with Minced Black Bean, Garlic and Almond Flakes. I love typhoon shelter anything. All that garlic. Dracula has no chance with my breath.


Stewed Fish Noodle with Conpoy and Enoki Mushroom
Stewed Fish Noodle with Conpoy and Enoki Mushroom. Fish noodles have more textural bite to them, but these were quite tender in general. A very healthy-tasting dish.


Some really kick-ass XO Sauce
They have some really good XO sauce. We kept asking for more, because it just gives all the dishes extra zing.



Red Bean Soup with Green Tea Glutinous Rice Ball Dumplings
There is a pretty good Red Bean Soup with Green Tea Glutinous Rice Ball Dumplings for dessert.


Bak Kwa Nian Gao!
Last but not least, the CNY offering that I thought was most interesting: Bak kwa nian gao - sweet glutinous rice cake with dried BBQ pork! The pork gives a complexity to the sweetness plus a savoury edge. It works very well, and is especially good pan-fried. Like!


MANDARIN COURT
Level 35
Mandarin Orchard
333 Orchard Road
Singapore 238867
Tel: +65 6831 6288/62
Open daily
Lunch
Monday to Friday
12.00pm to 2.30pm

Dim Sum Brunch
Saturday, Sunday & public holiday
11.00am to 2.30pm

Dinner
Monday to Sunday
6.30pm to 10.30pm


Thanks to Mandarin Orchard for the media tasting.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Instead of raw fish for yusheng, how about some char-grilled wagyu beef?
Are you tired of the usual, predictable lo hei with salmon or other raw fish? How does some char-grilled wagyu sound instead? Yes, Peach Blossoms at Marina Mandarin Singapore is shaking things up a little by going wagyu!

It certainly is unconventional, given that a number of Chinese (especially Buddhists) do not take beef. But these days, even non-Chinese partake in the lo-hei ritual, especially as part of a company get-together. And for those of us who do love beef, this option makes a nice change indeed.


The wagyu beef yu sheng comes with Hong Kong style sesame dressing
The wagyu beef "yu sheng" comes with Hong Kong style sesame dressing instead of the usual plum sauce.


Lo hei! As high as you can!
牛气冲天!Embrace the new year with bullish vigour!



牛气冲天! Char-grilled wagyu beef yu sheng
It helps that this beef salad is really tasty. The crisp, cold vegetables are perfect with the sesame dressing and wagyu slices. I appreciate that it's not doused with cloyingly sweet sauces.

炭烧和牛捞生配港式芝麻酱
Char-grilled Wagyu Beef Yu Sheng
served with Hong Kong-style Sesame Dressing
$68++ (4 to 6 persons); $118++ (10 persons)

But if you still prefer the traditional fish-based yu sheng, tossing to 年年有余, they have that as well.

At the media tasting, we also got to preview some of the dishes that will be available during Chinese New Year.

Double-boiled Chicken Broth with Ginkgo Nuts and Cordycep Flower
福果虫草花鸡炖翅
Double-boiled Chicken Broth with Ginkgo Nuts and Cordycep Flower
$35++ per person

The Cantonese are fastidious about soups, and this one feels really fortifying with lots of cordycep flowers at the bottom.


Baked Lobster with Sliced Garlic and White Truffle Oil
飞跃龙门(白松露油蒜片焗开边龙虾)

Baked Lobster with Sliced Garlic and White Truffle Oil
Available within Harmonious Set Menu at $1488++ for 10 persons

Lobsters will probably be very popular next year (Year of the Dragon), especially since its name in Chinese is 龙虾, the "dragon prawn". This baked lobster is delicious, but slightly on the chewy side.  If you prefer, there is also a steamed lobster with superior sauce, and lobster yu sheng too.



Peach Blossoms Abalone Treasures Pot

鸿桃轩发财鹌鹑鲍鱼盆菜
Peach Blossoms Abalone Treasures Pot - $248++ (4 to 6 persons); $398++ (10 persons)
10-head Quality Whole Abalone, Fish Maw, Quail, Sea Cucumber,
Dried Scallops, Marinated Soya Chicken, Roast Duck, Roast Pork,
Deep-fried Live Prawns, Flower Mushrooms, Black Moss,
Abalone Mushrooms, Radish, Lotus Root,
Baby Corns, Pig’s Tongue, Fried Bean Curd Skin
I don't know about you, but this pot just makes me want to go, "HUAT AH!!!"
What a beautiful "pen cai" with layers of auspicious ingredients.
My favourite item in there? The crispy skin roast pork - it's so good, I'll trade abalones for it!



Chef Chan Shun Wong from Hong Kong is very young!
Peach Blossom's newly appointed Chef, Chan Shun Wong (陈顺煌), is from Hong Kong. He looks deceptively young (I hear he has an 11 year old kid). Chef Chan will keep to preparing authentic Cantonese food but will add a modern twist to create interest.


Steamed Marble Goby with Fragrant and Raw Minced Garlic
年年添有余(金银蒜蒸笋壳)

Steamed Marble Goby with Fragrant and Raw Minced Garlic
Available in both A La Carte (market price) and Set Menus (from $388++ for 4 persons)

Of course, the Chinese must have a fish dish. This one is superloaded with garlic! You can request for it to be less intense, if you like.


Water Chestnut Cake with Osmanthus (front); Red Dates Cake with Coconut Milk (back)
We also got to sample their 年糕 Nian Gao in two very pleasing flavours:
Front *桂花马蹄糕 Water Chestnut Cake with Osmanthus ($28.80 per cake)
Back *椰汁枣皇糕 Red Dates Cake with Coconut Milk ($28.80 per cake)
I thought the red date cake was quite interesting.


Peach Blossoms hashima desserts - hot and cold
You can have other desserts too. The hashima comes in the traditional hot version with red dates, and also a cold one with almond cream in a young coconut.


Peach Blossoms desserts
There are also colourful cold desserts - avocado, strawberry and mango with scoop of ice cream. I can see these being a hit with kids!



Four Treasures Pastry
四色年饼
The Four Treasures Pastry ($18.80 per box) makes a nice gift when visiting.
*莓果酥 Mixed Berries Pastries*
*凤梨酥 Pineapple Tarts*
*腰果酥 Cashew Nuts Pastries*
*莲蓉核桃酥 Walnut with Lotus Paste Pastries*


Peach Blossoms itself has undergone a S$1 million makeover to usher in the new year. It's got a brand new menu and now seats 180. The four renovated private dining rooms will welcome guests with a choice of 11 premium teas.

The Chinese New Year menu, including orders for take away starts from 16th January right up till 6th February 2012.


PEACH BLOSSOMS
Level 5, Marina Mandarin Singapore
6 Raffles Boulevard
Singapore 039594
Tel: +65 6845-1111
Open daily
Lunch
Weekdays, 12.00pm – 2.30pm
Weekends & Public Holidays, 11.00am – 2.30pm

Dinner
Daily, 6.30pm – 11.00pm (Last order at 10.30pm)

Thanks to the lovely folks at Marina Mandarin Singapore for the CNY preview tasting.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The winning creation - Chocolate and Raisin My Favourite Tart
Some of you have asked regarding recipes from the Bosch Cook-off Competition. I've managed to get hold of the recipes and permission to publish them, so here they are! Merry Christmas!


IMG_0850
But first, let me show you the machine that I believe the winner Fahizal used to make his winning chocolate raisin tart (first photo).


IMG_1225
It is a MUM 5 all-in-one kitchen machine. It's got many functions in one compact body - a mixer, blender, shredder and citrus juicer. This is the shredder attached to the main arm. The output goes conveniently into the sturdy stainless steel mixing bowl.


IMG_1230
The shredder comes with three different blades - for slicing, coarse grating, and fine grating (cheeses, chocolate, fruits, nuts, vegetables, etc). These are stored conveniently in a pouch that also contains the mixer attachments like the whisk, dough hook and mixer. The whole black pouch can be stored neatly in the mixing bowl when not in use. There's the bright orange citrus juicer too - great when you need lots of juice for a family brunch or party.


IMG_1233
Fold the arm down, and you can attach a blender for blending drinks, pureeing fruit and vegetables, making mayonnaise, and even crushing ice cubes.

There are more options you can attach, including meat grinders and different slicing blades (for French fries, rosti, potato dumplings, etc).

As you can see, it's really versatile. I can't wait to make full use of mine when I finally get my oven! Yes, and when my tastebuds resume duty too. I'm sick of being sick, and eating porridge! I miss my homebaked stuff!


But on to the recipes!

--------------------------

BOSCH ORIGINAL RECIPE COMPETITION
PARTICIPANTS’ RECIPES


The winning creation - Chocolate and Raisin My Favourite Tart

PARTICIPANT NAME: Fahizal Bin Maziland (WINNER)
NAME OF DESSERT: Chocolate Raisin My Favourite Tart

Ingredients:
Sweet Dough (Tart base)
85 g Butter (Unsalted)
85g Caster Sugar
150g Flour
1 no Egg Yolk

Chocolate Brownie (Filling)
75g Butter (Unsalted)
50g Dark Chocolate
113g Mascavado Sugar
1 no Eggs
1 no Vanilla Bean
25g All Purpose Flour
25g Cocoa Powder
2g Baking Powder
1 Pinch of Sea Salt
60g Golden Raisin

Chocolate Ganache
75g Dark Chocolate
75 g Whipping Cream

Method:
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Sweet Dough
1) Grease baking tin (35cm x 11cm x 3cm)
2) Add all ingredients into mixing bowl.
3) Using the stirrer to combine ingredients forming a crumble texture.
4) Using hand, knead into dough.
5) Prepare the tart base by placing the dough onto the tin and pressing it against the
tin to cover the entire tin.
6) Leave it in the freezer for 10 minutes.
7) Take it out from the freezer and bake for 20 min.

Chocolate Brownie (Filling)
1) Melt chocolate and butter using double boil method.
2) Mix dry ingredients & raisins in the mixer's bowl & beat at speed 3.
3) Add melted chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients followed by egg and vanilla
seeds.
4) Mix well and beat at Speed 6 for approximately 3-5 minutes.
5) Stop the mixer and scrap the mixture to fill the tart base.
6) Bake at 180 Degree Celsius for 13 minutes.

Chocolate Ganache
1) Place whipping cream, chocolate into a bowl.
2) Melt the chocolate using double boil method.
3) Mix well before pouring it on the cool tart.
4) Tart can be served chilled or warm.
5) Garnish with berries before serving.



---------------------------------

Banana Cake with Cheese Topping

PARTICIPANT NAME: Young Beins, Diana
NAME OF DESSERT: Banana Top Cake with Cheese

Ingredients:
250g butter
180g sugar
5 eggs
200gm self raising flour
1 tsp vanilla powder
2 bananas
Mashed 2 bananas
Sliced 150gm shredded cheese

Method:
1) Beat butter and sugar until creamy on the MUM8 cake machine at speed 4
2) Add the eggs one at a time until well mixed
3) Add the self raising flour a little at a time and the vanilla powder
4) Lastly add in mashed bananas and mix well
5) Line a baking tin with baking paper and arrange the sliced bananas until it
covers the entire base of the cake tin
6) Pour the mixture on top and bake in the oven at 180 degree Celsius for
about 45 minutes or until the cake is baked thoroughly
7) Allow to cool and sprinkle the shredded cheese on top before serving

---------------------------------

IMG_0902

PARTICIPANT NAME: Elizabeth Choy Wai Mai
NAME OF DESSERT: Sop with Jack Mousse Cake

Ingredients:
4 eggs
100g sugar
100g plain flour (sifted)
100g warm melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Mousse filling: 3 tbsp water, 20g gelatin, 150g soursop (blended), 250g fresh
cream (whipped), 100g jackfruit (sliced thinly or shredded)

Jelly topping: 400g water, 12g instant jelly, 80g sugar and 1tsp lemon/lime
juice

For decoration: 50-100g whipped fresh cream, 50g toasted almond flakes
and some sliced/shredded jackfruits

Method:
1) Preheat oven to 160 degrees C
2) Grease and line a deep 9" round baking tin with paper.
3) Whisk eggs, sugar and vanilla essence at max. speed until stiff.
4) Fold in sifted flour.
5) Add in warm melted butter and mix well
6) Pour into baking tin and bake for about 35 minutes
7) Cut cake into 3 layers when it is cooled
8) Dissolve gelatin in water over low fire
9) Leave to cool. Whisk fresh cream until stiff and add in the blended
soursop, sliced/shredded jackfruit and the cooled gelatin and mix well.
10) Position one layer of cake on a cake board and place a cake ring over.
11) Spread 1/3 of mousse mixture on top of cake. Repeat the same process
until all the mousse is used up. Take care not to leave any gap at the sides to
prevent jelly topping from flowing down.
12) Leave in the freezer to set, about 1/2 hour.
13) Boil water, sugar, juice and instant jelly together.
14) Set aside until lukewarm.
15) Decorate the top of cake with sliced/shredded jackfruit and pour lukewarm
instant jelly on top.
16) Leave in the fridge to set. Remove the cake ring and decorate the side
with whipped fresh cream and toasted almond flakes.


---------------------------------

IMG_0913

PARTICIPANT NAME: Florence Seow Kah May
NAME OF DESSERT: Peach Cheese Cake

Ingredients:
2packs Philadelphia Cream Cheese (226gm)
1tube Bulla Premium Sour Cream (200ml)
1tube Bulla Pura Cream (200ml)
100gm SCS Butter
13pcs McVites Digestive Biscuits
4 Medium Eggs 1Tps
Vanilla Essence 2Tps
Gelatine Powder 1/2cup
Castor Sugar 1can
Peach Halves

Method:
1) Preheat oven to 175c for 10minutes
2) First, crush McVites Digestive Biscuits in a bowl, add melt butter and put in
the baking tray. Leave in the freezer for 1/2hour.
3) Put Philadelphia Cream Cheese and sugar into mixing bowl and beat till
creamy.
4) Slowly add egg, one at the time. Lastly add sour cream and pura cream,
vanilla essence together beat till dissolve
5) Take out the baking tray from the freezer and pour items 3 & 4 into the baking tray, fold in the aluminium foil below the baking tray.
6) Add water bath in the tray
7) Bake at 175c for 45minutes then turn off the oven and leave it for 1hr inside.
8) Take the cake out from the oven and let it cool off for about 2hrs and then put in the fridge to chill
9) Decorate the cake with peaches
10) Cook gelatine powder till dissolve (set aside for 5minutes to cool) slowly pour all over onto the surface of the cheesecake and put in the fridge to chill again.


---------------------------------

Orange Chocolate Muffins

PARTICIPANT NAME: Jane Kan Swee Lan
NAME OF DESSERT: Orange Chocolate Cupcake

Ingredients:
3 Eggs
1 cup of butter
¾ cup sugar
½ cup milk
2 cups self raising flour
½ Orange- Orange Juice
½ Orange- Orange Peel
¼ cup Cocoa powder
White chocolate silver topping (Optional)

Method:
1) Preheat oven to 160 Degree Celsius
2) Line 12 cupcake pans with cupcake paper
3) In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs, add butter and sugar, and then mix until light
4) Add milk and flour, stir until combined. Beat for 2 minutes, until light and creamy
5) Divide mixture into 2 bowls.
First bowl - add orange juice and peels.
Second bowl - add Cocoa
6) Add ½ mixture of each into each cupcake paper and stir gently to get a marble effect
7) Bake for 18-20 minutes until firm to touch. Allow to cool


---------------------------------

Hokkaido Sweet Potato Steamed Cake

PARTICIPANT NAME: Karen Lum Chwee Fung
NAME OF DESSERT: Hokkaido Sweet Potato Steamed Cake

Ingredients:
200g butter
200g fine sugar
1 egg
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
300g flour (general purpose flour or cake flour)
1 tsp baking power
1 pinch of salt
50g full cream milk from Japan (Hokkaido)
50g coconut milk (fresh is better)
250g to 300g sweet potato cubes

Method:
1) Cream butter and sugar (120g) till light and fluffy
2) Add mixture of 1 egg and 3 egg yolks. Cream till smooth. Set aside.
3) In separate bowl, whip 3 egg whites with sugar (80g) till stiff peak.
4) Add egg whites mixture into the batter and combine well.
5) Fold in the flour (mixed and sifted flour and baking power) into the batter gently.
6) Add coconut milk with milk and fold gently.
7) Add sweet potato cubes.
8) Pour into baking or muffin pan.
9) Steam for 45mins.


---------------------------------

Although simple, the banana cake was one of the best-tasting items

PARTICIPANT NAME: Susan Chan Lian Kee
NAME OF DESSERT: Banana Cake

Ingredients:
125g Butter
200g Sugar
200g Flour
4 ripe bananas (mashed)
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk (optional)
Method:
1) Cream butter and sugar till creamy n light
2) Add in eggs, a little at a time.
3) Add in mashed bananas and flour.
4) Pour mixture into a grease baking tin.
5) Bake in a preheated oven at 180 c for 35mins.
6) Cook and cut neatly before serving


Happy baking and experimenting!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Awesome sense of space at Armani/Prive's rooftop terrace
Something with the name Armani in it is bound to be posh. But I was totally blown away by the huge, sprawling rooftop terrace at Armani/Prive. The awesome sense of space, together with skyscraper panoramic views, simply evokes a surreal feel.

Moët Hennessy brought us here for drinks before the wine-pairing dinner at which they unveiled their new iPad app, Flavours Asia. This bar just opened a few months ago in Central Hong Kong, and is one of only four Armani/Prive bars in the world.


There's greenery on one side to help add oxygen to the scene, really
You are flanked by some "hanging gardens" on one side of the wall. These were placed here to help cool the place, and enhance it with oxygen. I also like how the wooden floorboards give it a rather resort-like feel.


I can see why they say it has a Blade Runner like feel to it
The buildings almost seem to be looming above the bar. I can see why they say this place has a Blade Runner-ish edge to it.


Even the birds are talking about it
Even the birds are talking about it!


Armani/Prive is one of the latest bars in Central Hong Kong
Despite the tall buildings, you don't feel hedged in, like in many places in Hong Kong. That's because there's some 5,000 square feet of space for you to chill out in. You're insulated from the frenzy of the city by the chic and relaxing atmosphere of the bar.


We joked that we could almost see the spreadsheets in the offices across
We joked that we could almost see the spreadsheets in those offices.
I wonder if the workers in there ever cast weary looks across at the cocktail sipping guests.


Cocktails, including their signature Wasabi Green Apple Martini
Speaking of cocktails, we tried a few. Their signature is the Wasabi Green Apple Martini (left most, HK$120), which is a concoction of Smirnoff Green Apple, Masenez Green Apple, pineapple juice, lime juice and wasabi paste.

Second from left at the bottom is the Lollipop Caipirinha (HK$125) - Sagatiba Velha, Sagatiba Pura, St Germain, fresh lime juice and sugar. It has a real lollipop (minus the stick) in it.

I'm guessing the bright red one is the Raspberry Mule (HK$95). It uses one whole lime, sugar, raspberry puree, topped up with sparkling water and ginger ale.

Last one is probably the AQUA Gin Martini (HK$135), with London No.1 Gin, Monin Gomme, and fresh lemon juice.


Renkon chips and wasabi peas
Bar snacks to accompany conversation - renkon chips and wasabi peas. We could not get enough of the lotus root chips. The waiters so patiently refilled it every time they passed by.


Armani/Prive instagram photo
My Instagram photo. It's best to come here at sunset. Unwind here until you see the stars come out. With the cold weather right now in Hong Kong, I think it's the best time to enjoy al fresco rooftop bars.

Armani/Prive does have an indoor bar and lounge section downstairs. It was too dark there to take photos though.


Armani Prive
Armani/Prive is at Chater House which encompasses an entire Armani complex. It's right next to Armani/Aqua, and both are collaborations between the Armani Group and the Aqua Restaurant Group.


ARMANI/PRIVE HONG KONG
2/F, Chater House,
8 Connaught Rd. Central,
Central Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3583 2828
Open daily
Mon-Sat noon-3pm, 6-11pm
Sundays noon-7:30pm


Many thanks to Moët Hennessy and Grebstad Hicks Communications for hosting us here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Island Tang evokes 1930s Shanghai with its art deco interior
Last month, Moët Hennessy Asia Pacific invited me to Hong Kong for the launch of their iPad app, Flavours Asia, that helps pair wines with Asian food. You can see see screenshots and review of the app here (it is beautiful!). The app is a huge boon to wine aficionados, because we've had guidance galore on how to pair wine with French and European cuisines, but very little on what goes well with the diverse array of food across Asia (Japan, India, Thailand, China, Malaysia, etc).

And we put their wine-pairing suggestions to the test at one of Hong Kong's foremost Cantonese restaurants - Island Tang. It's gorgeous - step through the retro doors and you're in cosy 1930s Shanghai. It's got a 1 Michelin star rating, but don't hold that against them. Island Tang has been consistently well-rated in many publications including the New York Times and the Financial Times.

This is by Sir David Tang the dynamic tycoon and avid reader who started the Shanghai Tang clothing line, and the very exclusive China Club not too far away. I've tried the China Club (had an event there some years back) and honestly, I much prefer the food at Island Tang. No membership required either!

We had a private room, where we could indulge in our journey of wines with our eight-course dinner.

Jane Dee, Regional Brand Manager (Belvedere, Estates & Wines, Grand Marnier), Moët Hennessy Asia Pacific showing us the new book on pairing wine with Asian food
The charismatic Jane Dee, Regional Brand Manager (Belvedere, Estates & Wines, Grand Marnier), Moët Hennessy Asia Pacific, showing us their new book on pairing wine with Asian food. Yes, the book came first, and the iPad app is based on it. I gave out four of those books in a previous post. And those who have seen my copy absolutely love it.


There are quite a few wine brands under Moët Hennessy
The book and app both feature wine labels under under Moët Hennessy. I never realised they had so many until this event. Well, at this dinner, we also got to try quite a few of these excellent wines.


A sight to warm any wine lover's heart
A sight to warm any wine lover's heart, no?


Arnaud Mirey from Moët Hennessy explaining the wines in detail
Wines and Spirits Consultant Arnaud Mirey from Moët Hennessy explaining each wine in detail, and why it goes well with the dishes it's paired with. You may have seen him on the app itself.

Sommelier profile on Flavours Asia
Told you the app looks good.

Anyway, there were amazing discoveries, right off the bat, from the appetisers.

Island Tang Appetiser Delights - Spicy Frog Legs, Shichimi Tofu, and Century Egg
Island Tang Appetiser Delights - Spicy Frog Legs, Shichimi Tofu, and Century Egg. We had Chandon Brut, a nice bubbly that was a great hit with the rich and pungently creamy century egg! It totally cleansed the palate too, and you know how difficult that is with century egg.

Special mention goes to the shichimi tofu. If our local restaurants could also produce tofu as soft, delicious and flavoursome as this, I'd be popping these nonstop.


The Most Delicious Roast Pork Ever
The best part of the appetisers was the Most Delicious Roast Pork Ever! I can't ask for a more perfectly and evenly crisped skin - such delightful crunch. And the ratio of fat and lean meat was just right. I'd just had Joy Hing (that's another post) before the dinner, and their famous roast pork is almost as good, but differently so (more like suckling pig). You can try this with the Terrazas Reserva Malbec, a deep red with hints of cassis.


Double-boiled Meat Ball with Hairy Crab in Chicken Bouillon
Double-boiled Meat Ball with Hairy Crab in Chicken Bouillon. They recommended the lesser known Cloudy Bay Pinot Gris for this. Cloudy Bay is more famous for its Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir, but the Pinot Gris is light, floral, and not too acidic - perfect for the delicate soup. They use old oak barrels to age the wine, so the oaky flavour is not as strong.


Pan-fried Fillet of Spotted Garoupa with Premium Soy Sauce
Pan-fried Fillet of Spotted Garoupa with Premium Soy Sauce. A Cloudy Bay Chardonnay was chosen to pair this awesomely delicious fish. The wine is more creamy than the Pinot Gris, and has a lemonish tinge. It's more Burgundy in style, so it's great paired with cooked fish and sauce.


At least six different wines from Moët Hennessy
We had at least six different wines from Moët Hennessy, and this is what they look like.
Back: Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon, Terrazas Reserva Malbec, Chandon Brut.
Front: Chandon Brut Rose, Cloudy Bay Chardonnay, Cloudy Bay Pinot Gris.


Pan-fried Chicken Fillet Marinated with Fermented Bean Curd
The next course was Pan-fried Chicken Fillet Marinated with Fermented Bean Curd. Both the Cloudy Bay Chardonnay and the Chandon Brut went well with this (they do with most fish and chicken dishes).


Stewed De-boned Pig Trotter with Black Truffle Sauce
Stewed De-boned Pig Trotter with Black Truffle Sauce. Succulent skin and juicy meat, richly flavoured with truffle sauce. De-boned! What convenience! No unsightly gnawing on trotter bones.

The Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon goes well with meat protein, and was a good match for this. But some people preferred the Terrazas Reserva Malbec as this particular dish had a lot of skin. There really are no rules, just preferences.



Braised Wagyu Short Rib with Onions, Peking Scallions and Spring Onions
Braised Wagyu Short Rib with Onions, Peking Scallions and Spring Onions. This was a generous piece, and was so rich and filling that it proved a little challenging for some of us. The Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon was recommended for this. It met the luxuriously heavy dish head on, and enhanced it even more.


Braised Goose Web with Abalone Sauce on Egg Noodles
Braised Goose Web with Abalone Sauce on Egg Noodles. I'd envisioned full goose webs which might be fiddly to eat, but wow, Island Tang really takes care of everything for you. The goose web is in thin easy-to-eat slices. The abalone sauce is also sublime. It's the best mee pok I have ever had.

For this dish, Moët Hennessy asked us to see which wine we would pick. Most people chose the Chardonnay - it's not too sweet and good with meat.


Dessert of Chilled Mango Pudding paired with Cloudy Bay Riesling
By the time dessert rolled by, we were rolling on our tummies. The Chilled Mango Pudding is surrounded by so many glasses of wine, you'll swear you're seeing double after a while.

But it was here that the crowd favourite Cloudy Bay Riesling was unveiled. This is a late harvest wine, which means more sugar has accumulated in the fruit, and they use a noble mushroom or rot to dehydrate the grape further. All the sugars are even more concentrated, and it develops flavours like apricot, and strangely a kerosene scent too.

We thought it was more delicious than dessert itself.


A happy group of bloggers, PR folks with Moët Hennessy
And so the evening ended most happily. Here are some of the bloggers and PR folks with Arnaud (from left to right, Jason, Michelle, Virginia, Samantha, Rayner, Olivia and Patrick). I was thrilled to finally meet Jason Tse the Bonvivant, as well as the effusively funny Michelle Ng of Chopstixfix, and Patrick Lai of SmashingPumpkins fame on Openrice with more than 3,000 reviews! I also met KC the gourmet, Jennifer Luk, and folks from Winebuzz.hk (not pictured here).

Remember to download the gorgeous iPad app Flavours Asia!


Island Tang is owned by Sir David Tang who also owns Shanghai Tang

ISLAND TANG
Shop 222 The Galleria
9 Queen's Road Central
Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2526-8798
Open daily: noon to 10.30pm


Major thanks to Moët Hennessy for flying me up to Hong Kong to experience the iPad app, the enlightening dinner paired with lovely wines!
 
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